Community perception of threat

This project is designed to assess how to predict the UK public's fear of a terrorist attack.

Key details

Lead institution
Principal researcher(s)
Dr Lara Frumkin
Police region
South East
Collaboration and partnership

Greater Manchester Police and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Level of research
Professional/work based
Project start date
Date due for completion

Research context

The first goal of this project is to determine whether people with certain factors (that is, high levels of anxiety and/or ethnocentrism) are more likely to be fearful of an attack.

A second goal is to provide evidence-based recommendations for law enforcement. The recommendations for working with community members who fear a terrorist attack will be devised by Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police service and researchers jointly building on the work the police are already doing.

Research methodology

Three questionnaires will be used along with demographics questions. The questionnaires are the:

  • Terrorism Catastrophising Scale (measuring rumination, magnification, helplessness)
  • General anxiety (measured by the GAD, a screening questionnaire regularly used to assess generalised anxiety disorder)
  • Ethnocentrism Scale (measuring attitudes towards groups other than our own)
  • Demographics (age, gender, race, religion, where someone lives, education level, regular news source)

An initial sample of 1000 participants in England completed the survey in August 2019 and another 500 completed the survey at the end of 2020 (with the backdrop of Brexit and COVID-19). Data will be collected again following a rise in the UK threat level related to a cultural or political event.

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